A week to go and SkogsElmia 2019 is already a watershed event
Held once every four years in the forests around Jönköping, Sweden, the three-day SkogsElmia is something of a better-kept secret amongst seasoned forestry pro's. Traditionally seen as the little brother of the flagship forestry demo tradeshow Elmia Wood, the focus has been on Nordic forestry and forest issues. Times have evolved and things are different but SkogsElmia 2019 is already a watershed event in forestry circles – drones, AI, digitalisation and big data have hit the woods.
Held once every four years in the forests around Jönköping, Sweden, the three-day SkogsElmia is something of a better-kept secret amongst seasoned forestry pro’s. Traditionally seen as the little brother of the flagship forestry demo tradeshow Elmia Wood, the focus has been on Nordic forestry and forest issues.
Hence previously, the event which attracts about 30 000 visitors and 300 exhibitors, was purposely only marketed in the Nordics and the language was Swedish. However, savvy forestry pro’s and keen representatives from the international forestry trade press knew that the chances were good that novel technologies and prototype machinery could be gleaned from a visit to SkogsElmia.
Times have evolved and things are different – SkogsElmia and for that matter, Elmia Wood is under entirely new management and without any “baggage” or legacy from the previous project team constellations. A daunting task no doubt but one that Project Manager Mattias Pontén along with his team seems more than capable of pulling off with bravura. With one week to go, it would appear that things are under control.
Nonetheless, SkogsElmia anno 2019 is already different as several forest machinery OEM’s have, for reasons best known unto themselves, opted not to participate – Logset chose to launch its new 8H GTE Hybrid harvester and showcase its “Smooth Ride” forwarder cab suspension system at home in Finland.
Logset is, however, participating the week after SkogsElmia at the competing SkogsNolia event outside Umeå in northern Sweden. If nothing else the logistics for Logset are much more favourable as it is literally just a ferry crossing from Vaasa in Finland to Umeå in Sweden.
Apart from Komatsu Forest that has its manufacturing facilities in Umeå, other Swedish OEM’s like Rottne Industrier and Gremo both of which are located relatively close to Jönköping have chosen SkogsNolia over SkogsElmia for 2019.
This is all old news for the organisers and the focus for SkogsElmia 2019 is on forest owners. It does not mean that there will be no forest machines at SkogsElmia – on the contrary, it opens the field to other players like Malwa that perhaps otherwise have difficulty in attracting (media) attention.
One thematic area that has blossomed since being launched at Elmia Wood 2017 is the “Drone Zone”. A forest owner too, Mattias Pontén gave a quick demo from his office computer at Elmia in Jönköping. The entire forest showground at Bratteborg Estate has been digitality mapped using a drone with a resolution down to individual trees. The stands, roads and pathways buildings, waterways, power lines, you name it, it’s on the digital map.
The convergence of drones, AI (artificial intelligence), computing power, digital imaging, and wireless cloud capabilities have blown the door wide open when it comes to forest management tools and traceability. All I need is a drone and smart-phone along with various apps as tools explained Pontén.
Remote monitoring of wildfire risk or spruce bark beetle damage are two obvious uses that spring to mind but Pontén assures me that the proverbial sky or imagination is the limit without revealing anything specific. Having previously worked with the Swedish Forest Agency before heading up Elmia’s forestry events, and as chair of the newly launched SkogsElmia Innovation Award, Mattias Pontén would know.
Certainly, if the drone zone and Treemetrics during Elmia Wood 2017 were anything to go by along with what has already been slipped by Tracy man and KATAM not to mention Biometria, the name of the merged timber measurement associations then SkogsElmia is already a watershed event in forestry and silvicultural circles. Think forest, oil palm or other plantation and surveillance, certification, chain-of-custody, “track & trace” right back to the individual tree and stump.
Can technology enable the forest industry value chain to police and verify itself as far as proving where feedstock, log by log, come from? If so then, environmental watchdogs will need to be wary as suddenly the burden of proof will have shifted into their court entirely. This and other issues are likely to be discussed during SkogsElmia, not least during the bioenergy seminar at the event.
Bioenergy International along with our sister publication Tidningen Bioenergi will be in attendance at SkogsElmia and you are more than welcome to drop by stand 196 and share your forest biomass news and views.